Yoshika Colwell

Known to everyone as Yoshi, Yoshika Colwell is an undergraduate at the University of York and everyone who knows her know about her voice.

Singing live gigs across the city at various cabaret and jazz nights, Yoshi wows audiences wherever she sings with her beautiful smooth tone and alternative covers. She has a range of covers on Youtube under the title ‘Live in the Living Room’ where she re-discovers well known songs in a simple, yet beautiful style. Listening to them, you wouldn’t know she hadn’t written them herself. My personal favourite is her cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Soul Rebel’ – believe me, it’s nothing like you’ve heard that song before!

As well as her beautiful covers, Yoshi also provides the vocal track for the radio drama Trimble, produced by URY (University Radio York) and written by Edward Greenwood. The show is currently nominated in the Best Online or Non-Broadcast Audio drama catagory in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2014.

I thoroughly recommend listening to Yoshi and checking out her music. Not just because she’s a lovely person, but also because she’s an incredibly talented musician. Her soundcloud has a lot of good examples of her music – https://soundcloud.com/yoshikacolwell – but check out that aforementioned Bob Marley cover – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqzxYuV_Pwc

VIRGIL HOWE DJ

With his dark eyes, long hair and thick moustache and goatee, Virgil Howe is unmistakably the son of renowned guitarist Steve Howe (from Yes) and a child of the world of progressive rock. Immersed in his father’s world from a young age, it is only logical that he would start improvising some music notes on his Moog Synth at the age of 4. Today, after successively drumming for The Killer Meters, Little Barrie and Dirty Feel, Howe is based in London and is focusing on producing and releasing singles and mixtapes on Scenario Records – a major label in UK underground hip-hop music.

Browsing his Soundcloud, it is evident that his style has considerably changed in two years.  His latest work is more mature and it seems that he is gradually defining himself in a unique musical style.  His mixes are refreshingly new in a world where electro music essentially consists of adding a repetitive melody to vaguely sophisticated beats. The influence of different styles is very strong in his recent mixes, ranging from disco to electronic, through “bootyshakin” and “spacefunk”. He excels in taking songs that belong to a very specific genre of music and twisting them around to produce an entirely different sound. For example, Snoop Dogg’s, Drop It Like It’s Hot becomes Kiss It Like It’s Hot, as it is tastefully brightened up with lazy lounge beats and slow soul notes.

Virgil Howe has character and his music is reflective of that. His unusual focus on disco-funk and his massive use of unknown vocalists seem like bold moves in the ultra-competitive sphere of London music, but by giving personality to his songs certainly pays off. Ease Back Mama, Stolen Moments, Afroway: Howe is certainly successful in imposing rhythmic afro beats as his trademark and he says himself that he stands as “as spokesperson for the outer worlds”. Certainly his family background encouraged him to find a place in the world of music, but his increasing popularity can only be explained by the fact that his style is one step ahead.

To know more about him, you can check out his Soundcloud, follow him on Twitter or like his Facebook page!

By The Rivers

By the Rivers are about to embark on their acoustic tour. It was in their acoustic set up that I first unearthed By the Rivers. I stumbled across them on YouTube, where SB TV had caught them at Alexandra Palace. They performed an acoustic version of ‘Where You Gonna Go’ in an A64 session. I was hooked, a cliché I know but, I hadn’t heard anything like it. By the Rivers contemporary twist on Reggae cannot be ignored.  Members Nile Barrow and Jordan Birtles from Leicester formed the six piece in 2010 and have been friends since early childhood. Their catchy melodies and insightful lyrics echo issues that affect their youthful generation. ‘… when they’re coming after you? They don’t need evidence, they don’t need proof’, the social comment made parallels that of a favourite band of mine, super group Mongrel.  I couldn’t leave it there.

Immediately I wanted more, however my searches were running dry, the top result Boney M’s Rivers of Babylon.  With limited material available online – I needed to see this band live. When I finally got hold of a ticket I was rattled with excitement to what ‘new to me’ material I may hear.  It was a long wait but I got by on the One Word Single featured on Spotify which contained B-Side Take Control.

My first By the Rivers gig could not have been in a more perfect setting at a more perfect time. I’d just finished my A Levels, two years of slog, hard slog, over. I was lost I didn’t know what to do with time. DBE were hosting an End of Exam party across two venues. One of these being my favourite bar in the Midlands, The Orange Tree, it was here I completely shook off my two years of schooling. I’d never seen the Orange Tree more livelily – it was full to capacity. The energy and enthusiasm that By the Rivers bought to the town was like nothing before. The six piece filled the stage, the eye contact made between themselves and the audience was evidence that they couldn’t be enjoying their performance more.

Over the past two years Boney M’s hit has now been pushed to the bottom of the search page. YouTube is a now flood of By the Rivers singles, sessions and festival highlights and on Spotify you can stream their self-titled debut album. The band achieving success in reaching a top spot in BBC East Midlands Introducing’s ‘Countdown of Most Played Artists 2013’ and through recognition from reggae pioneer David Rodigan.

Their UK acoustic tour begins in Nottingham this February going on to Bristol, Hay on Wye, Loughborough, Norwich and Leicester. You can also catch them in Sheffield and Birmingham supporting The Selecter on their 35 year anniversary tour. Can’t wait till then? You can download the acoustic track ‘Board that Train’  for free now.

THE HICS

I belong to that category of people who get absolutely irascible when someone puts on music when they need to focus; little did I know that this major personality aspect would be changed forever when I stumbled upon The Hics’ SoundCloud. And so, it is gently lulled by the soothing voice of Roxana Dayette that I am currently writing a review about this very promising sextet that is bursting with talent and that is just starting to be recognized among the British underground scene.

Sam Paul Evans (vocals), Jacob Welsh (drums), Geordon Reid-Campbell (guitar), Matt Knox (bass), David Turay (saxophone) and Roxana Dayette (vocals), aged 17 to 24, almost all met at Pimlico School in London, where the band was formed and named after hickory (the wood drumsticks are made of). The Hics was at first a two-piece band and as it gradually grew into a six-piece, it was successful in imposing a rare and unique style that is not easy to define. Instrumentation-wise, their work is light and aerial, with gentle beats that subtly enhance the suavity of their slow melodies. To a sophisticated bass backdrop, Turay’s saxophone does the trick and sets the jazzy tone that is the trademark for the band. The Hics define their style as “electronic swing” but clearly their music is shaped by a variety of influences and rather goes into different styles, ranging from indie to jazz, with a touch of soul and even mild dubstep.

But what probably makes The Hics so distinctive is their vocals: Sam’s deep, masculine voice mingles with Roxana’s slightly melancholic but very sensual voice, which provides some gorgeous harmonies that fit in perfectly in the musical pieces. Lyrics follow on in the same vein as well, with a strong emphasis on fading and dissolution in Tangle, or a lament about a non-reciprocal love in Cold Air. One word to describe their work? It would probably be smooth.

The Hics therefore fit exactly in contemporary musical trends and their work is becoming increasingly popular. They released their first album last August, which you can download on Itunes and featured on the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto 5. For more info, you can visit their official website, or follow them on Twitter or SoundCloud.

Ady Suleiman

The Replay and Rob Da Bank stage returned to this year’s Bestival on the Isle of Wight and saw a number of emerging musical talents onstage over the weekend, from the likes of Sam Smith, Ghostpoet and Nina Nesbitt. One of the most exciting new artists I saw there on the final night was soul singer/songwriter Ady Suleiman from Nottingham, a city building a great reputation for producing artists that inject a bit of Midlands grittiness into the popular music scene (see other recent exports Jake Bugg and Dog is Dead). He has been featured on Radio 1Extra and also played at Glastonbury in the summer of 2013.

The festival organisers gave a glowing report of Suleiman, professing to festival-goers that ‘if you only get to check out one new act at this year’s festival, make sure it’s this young man’. He certainly didn’t disappoint: with just an acoustic backing and his own soul-cum-reggae vocals, Suleiman successfully created a chilled ambience in the tent and his music was incredibly easy to listen and dance to. Interestingly, this was juxtaposed with some incredibly uncompromising lyrics, for example in State of Mind, a song which challenges prevailing religious and political ideologies, where Suleiman lends us a healthy dose of scepticism regarding the structures by which we live our lives. However, although this may sound like an angsty and rattling subject matter, Suleiman has successfully struck a balance between social commentary and musical storytelling through his reassuring vocal tonality, which has an endearing overall effect.

In a time where intelligent song writing has become secondary to producing club-friendly and frankly annoying electro-pop music, it’s encouraging that there are artists like Ady Suleiman who are willing to take issues like disillusionment, depression and disappointment and come up with a refreshingly soulful and sensitive musical means of expressing them. Britain has not produced many soul singers, but Suleiman is paving the way for an exciting new arena of musical talent from this country.

Find out more on Facebook, Twitter and Sound Cloud and here’s a personal favourite of mine: Need Somebody To Love

The King’s Parade

Sometimes all you need to find talent is to take a hike – or a walk in Camden Locke. Whilst wandering to the nearby station and grabbing some Pakistani-style chicken masala wrap (with cheese), I followed the catchy strains of guitar drifting past the bridge and came across The King’s Parade – to be precise, their four talented members, Olivier Corpe (vocals/guitar), Sam Rooney (piano/vocals), Tom English (bass and sax), and Chris ‘The King” Brent, wielding his drumsticks with savvy.

In this age of Internet-based advertising, it’s refreshing to find a band that so relentlessly and successfully pursues a musical career through direct interaction with their listeners: live street performances. Scrolling through the music video of their hit single “Vagabond” on Youtube, the enthusiastic comments are largely from fans exclaiming that they found the R&B band through performances in places ranging from Trafalgar Square, Camden, the British Museum and even Leeds.

Their music is catchy and melodic, upbeat notes and rich, deep voices tinged with melancholia. The Parade’s Motown influences lend soul to their professional compositions and contemporary lyrics, perhaps best seen in “Vagabond”, which has now over 18,000 plays on Soundcloud and has amassed them a slowly growing fanbase – one whose strength rests in the fact that that many of those fans have already had the privilege of listening to them live, and know they prove to be just as good in reality as through a computer screen or filtered through a pair of headphones.

The King’s Parade’s first album will be officially released this October, and their next gig is coming up on the 16th of October at Paper Dress in London. If you’re seeking a quietly enchanting something to go with that chilled drink in the dusk of evening or some bluesy tunes to keep you company in the silence of the night, have a listen to the band by perusing their website and Facebook, or following their sounds via Soundcloud and Youtube.

Gabriella Jones

Now you may have come across Gabriella Jones recently in the media, as her music has caught the attention of some pretty famous singers, shall we say. Gabriella is not the usual teenager, who is up all night trying to score tickets to see Beyoncé live, she does the next best thing; she supports Beyoncé on her Mrs. Carter world tour.

Gabriella Jones is an eighteen-year-old Blues/Pop/Rock Brummy singer songwriter. Currently studying an English and Philosophy degree at Birmingham University, Gabriella somehow manages to juggle recording amazing tunes, and being on a world tour, with my musical heroine Beyoncé. Gabriella unsurprisingly has caught the attention of musical legends because of her unique style and tone. Gabriella has worked with some of the ‘greats’, such as the guitar genius John McLaughlin, to create some amazing music. Her voice has a husky Rock and Blues feel, with a sound similar to Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Joan Jett. You can hear Gabriella’s musical influences of Led Zeppelin, Paul Rodgers, and Etta James in her voice, taking these influences to create a new sound. As the song ‘Blue Hills and Purple Butterflies’ exemplifies, Gabriella’s lyrics are powerful poetry. To hear this beautiful blues song click here: https://soundcloud.com/gabriellajonesmusic/blue-hills-and-purple.

This lady has already kicked off her career in a way that will make anyone feel inadequate. Gabriella has not only played at festivals such as Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, the Isle of Wight Festival and the Wireless Festival, she has supported the likes of Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, The Killers, Slash, and has opened for the legend that is Jay-Z. Gabriella is clearly an extremely musically talented young lady and I’m sure we will be hearing more from her in the days to come.

To check out this eighteen-year-old prodigy go to,

http://www.myspace.com/gabriellajonesmusic

https://soundcloud.com/gabriellajonesmusic

Stubborn Heart

“Electronic soul from the heart”; so goes the self-penned description of Stubborn Heart, an electronic duo who’ve drawn comparisons to James Blake, Mount Kimbie and The XX.

Accepting that the duo does indeed follow in this ‘future-garage/dubstep’ lineage is an apt way of trying to understand the band, but the points at which differ from their contemporaries draw the most interest.

The vocals, which sound liker a cleaner and sharper Anthony Hegarty, add to the atmospherics where the music, at times, fails in innovation. There is a greater emphasis on lyricism with incantatory repetitions of key lines for emphasis. Recent single ‘Need Someone’ opens with a sparse beat which ushers in a contemplative vocal line which settles broodingly on the thought “I need someone to love”.

The almost minimalist instrumentation on tracks like album opener ‘Penetrate’ draw attention to the “soul” rather than the “electronics”; this is a band who favours heart-ache over the head-nod.

Full Album Stream
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Soundcloud

Renegade Brass Band

Do you like funk? Do you like jazz? Do you like hip-hop? If you answered yes to any of these questions, well get ready, because your mind is about to be well and truly blown.

Formed in Sheffield back in 2009, and comprising of eight horns, two percussionists, a scratch DJ and a live MC, the Renegade Brass Band are quite simply a tour-de-force of funk and soul. With a incredible live reputation preceding them, and a whole host of hi-profile festivals and support slots under their belts, it is safe to say that this twelve-piece are currently creating some sizeable waves in the industry. Named by the Sheffield’s premier dubstep and hip-hop night the Tuesday Club as one of their top live acts, and having recently played the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show live in Manchester, it cannot be long before they explode completely.

Keep your eyes peeled for new material coming shortly, as well a whole host of live shows. For more information (and of course more tracks), check out the Renegade Brass Band website and Facebook page.

Beauty and Soul Brought to London: One to Watch: Kenzie May

Boston-born, yet Britain-bred, Kenzie May is one of London’s young talented musicians using her experiences in the city as both her backdrop and inspiration. With admirable amounts of experience under her belt, Kenzie’s beats are organic in that they flow freely,  consisting of tongue-in-cheek wordplay and fluid, honest lyrics.

With songs such as the raw, moving “Say Nothing” which is almost reminiscent of ballads of the early nineties, to the upcoming single “Hide & Seek”, her word play based on love, with the twist of childhood games, memories, and nursery rhymes are honest and right on point for the more literary, thinking crowd.

Moved by  art and creativity, the mesmerising Kenzie May is both beautiful and talented. Her writing style and composition are one of the most relevant pieces of work for someone so in touch with our generation. The rawness in her synthesized and digital sounds  break the mold from the forgettable radio releases we hear constantly.

Having collaborated with favourites and pros, such as Sub Focus in their tune “Falling Down” ad well as BeatauCue “Slow Down” and Bastille & F Stokes “Bad Blood”, Kenzie May is hard working and experimental with different techniques.

Writing in a flow which makes the surface of your skin chill, as well as your body to rock form side to side, is a rare talent which Kenzie May possesses, as each song is haunting in a way to lead to an afterthought and reflection – pop music for the thinking set, if you will.

 Kenzie’s single “Hide & Seek” produced by Jocke Åhlund of Teddybears, is set to have its video release by the end of the month, done by De La Muerte Films.

For some pop with honesty and edge, check out more on https://soundcloud.com/kenziemay or check out her most recent collaboration with FTSE, “Float” on Soundcloud.

http://soundcloud.com/ftse-1/float-ft-kenzie-may

 Images via: http://kenziemay.com

Follow Kenzie May on Tumblr and Twitter:

http://kenziemay.tumblr.com 

@kenziemayb

 

 

Savvy & Saving Grace Music

While I was enjoying some great art at the Zetland, I was lucky enough to bump into a fantastic recording artist, turned producer and now record label owner, Savvy. There are so many up and coming artists and musicians out there today, so it’s always awesome to chat with someone who has such raw talent, and is really showing the world what he’s got. With his own music racking up hits on YouTube, and his record label working with every genre from Folk to Grime and everything in between, you’re bound to love him just as much as I did.

Here’s what he has to say…

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Tell me a little bit about yourself and your music?
 
My name is Savvy, some people also may know me as Asaviour, I’m a producer & recording artist from Huddersfield and I’ve worked with a range of artists like: T.E.E.D, DJ Q, Stac, Athlete, Jehst, andDJ IQ to name a few. I’ve released 3 mix tapes as part of the a Play To Win series and have couple of albums out, one called The borrowed Ladder and another called The A Loop Theory. I’m currently working on a new album title to be conformed.

The Gola campaign is called “Born in Britain” are there any British artists that inspire you today?

Thats a long list erm……Mr Scruff, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Arctic Monkeys, The Clash, The Who, T.E.E.D, The Stone Roses, The Cure, Dizzee Rascal, Kate Bush, The Specials, Amy Whinehouse, Happy Mondays, Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz), M.I.A, Joy Division, Queen, New Order, The Beatles, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, Basement Jaxx, erm, erm The Streets, Roots Manuva, Labrinth, Calvin Harris,  Emeli Sandé, La Roux…I can literally go on and on and on……
 
You’ve also been busy working on your own record label “Saving Grace Music” Tell us about the label?

Erm… I guess it was just natural progression for me I stared featuring on peoples records, then got the chance to release my own records via labels then moved onto releasing my own records via my own label. I guess the aim is to give other artists & my self a platform to put out quality music whatever the genre. I stared the imprint in I guess 2007-8 firstly with mix tapes (Play to Win series) then moving onto singles & albums.

What projects and releases can our readers look out from you in the future?

Well I just released a free track from my recently released mix tape Play to Win vol.3 its called Adapt or Die (The Remix) it’s only free for a limited time so grab it while you can. http://soundcloud.com/savvy/savvy-adapt-or-die-remix

The second track is a forthcoming single from an artist I’ve worked with on my last album the A Loop Theory my collaboration album with DJ IQ ( Professor Green’s Tour DJ) has call Pride and it features a singer song writer called Stac, The track is called The Right Idea and features remixes from DJ Q, The Whiteboys, Noji & XLII. take a listen > http://soundcloud.com/saving-grace-music/pride-the-right-idea-ep

And last but not least we have a new artist to the label called Ben Hoo, Hes a singer, songwriter, guitarist, rapper, drummer generally and all round talented guy, he has a single due called Failing its amazing but hey I’m biased.

And I guess my new album, sorry I can’t tell you the title at the moment but I’m aiming to have that out later in the new year, I’m real happy with it so far.

 Finally, anything else you’re dying to tell us?
 
I’m also currently rehearsing with my new band for when we tour the new album its coming together nicely, we got a few special dates planned to make sure you follow me on twitter via @iam_savvy to find out when & where as i’ll be coming to a town near you soon!!

 Laterz…..

 

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Well guys I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed writing it. You can find Savvy online on many platforms, so check out the links below and make sure you’re the first to hear about all the latest news and new releases. Follow him and Saving Grace Music on their journey to bring us the best music has to offer. Don’t be left behind…

Savvy:
Twitter: @iam-savvy
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Saving Grace Music
Until next time guys!
Katie

Jerome Thomas

I first heard Jerome Thomas one rainy night in New Cross.

Rushing to try and make it on time for some arrangement I was inevitably late for, I passed the dingy New Cross Inn on the corner – haunt to many Goldsmiths students looking for a cheap night out, and some other rather interesting characters besides.

The smooth and soulful sounds I could hear emanating out the door were enough to catch my attention, and pique my curiousity. I had to go in to check it out, no matter how late it might make me, and how sticky the floor was going to be. What I ended up seeing was one of the strongest performances I’ve witnessed since starting at uni, and I’ve been keeping tabs on Jerome’s work since.

I recently caught up with the Dalston-based singer and designer to talk influences, plans, and creativity:

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Alright well, I’m Jerome Thomas, Singer/Songwriter from East London. I’ve been singing since i was a little’un, but started taking music seriously about 5/6 years ago.

The Soulnotes are a band i formed a few years back when i was at university and they are my band, so you’ll see em at most, if not all of my gigs. We write and record together sometimes too.

Describe your sound in three words (for all those people out there with short attention-spans!):

Fusion of everything – FOE.

How did you first get involved with music?

I’ve always been around music and creativity. I was writing songs, poems and stories as a kid all the time. In terms of just music, I think i was about 12 or 13 maybe and I performed at a open mic for young’ens and I remember – as cliche as it sounds – feeling really good doing after doing it; the reaction was positive, so from there i just carried on writing and singing.

Where do you take your inspiration from as an artist?

I try not to let others influence me as an artist and I feel that if you’re looking at someone else, you become less focused on you. I forever want to be original and create my own guidelines. 

There are obviously people I admire and would like to follow in the footsteps of in terms of success and musicality;  people like D’angelo, Marvin Gaye and Amy Winehouse. Regardless of their personal matters, their music is flawless to me and speaks for itself. With that said, I love all types of music.  

But most, I’m inspired by freedom: no limits or boundaries, being able to do what you want if and when it suits you.

You also design and sell t -shirts under your boutique brand ‘Foe’ – Can you give us an insight into your work in fashion?

Yeah, I’d been customising a lot of my clothes, getting clothes for cheap in charity shops and markets, and just trying stuff out with studs and bleach and dyes. Then one day, i was chilling making a t-shirt for myself and it clicked – just start selling them. It’s still in the baby stages now though, I’m concentrating more on my music, so the fashion side is sort of like my side job.

What other plans does  Jerome Thomas have for the near future?

Well i got a song looking to drop soonish, so thats coming up. I’ve also been collaborating with other producers and their projects are due for release soon too, so you should be seeing me pop up a bit more ‘fingers crossed’.

Finally, are there any other young musicians out there inspiring you?

Shakka, Etta Bond, Mark Asari, Joel Culpepper – they’re all doing their thing right now. Couldn’t really sit here and list everyone, but those are the standouts for me.